Tomy Drissi/Sebastian Asche drove their 22 Jump Street Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America to its best finish of the season in Detroit.
40 minutes of Yellow Flags; Bizarre Strategy and Traffic Highlight Detroit GTD
Detroit. The No.23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America combined mistake-free driving from Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Ian James (Phoenix) and a key pit stop to propel them to a second-place finish in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on the Belle Isle circuit here.
The next best finishing Porsche was the Alex Job team car - the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America driven by Leh Keen (Atlanta) and Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) - which finished fifth despite having to stop under the green flag to replace a door after scraping the wall.
The No. 23 car was less than three-tenths of a second behind the winning Ferrari of Balzan/Westphal, while the No. 22 entry was less than two seconds back of the winners.
Other top ten Porsche 911 GT America finishers included the No. 18 Muelhner Motorsports America Porsche of Sebastian Asch (Germany) and Tomy Drissi (Hollywood, Calif.) - who finished seventh despite a late-race penalty for passing under the yellow flag. For Muehlner, this was the team's best finish of the season, and an alternate pit strategy - staying out when others pitted for two successive yellow flags - kept Drissi in the class lead for almost half the race.
The No. 58 Jan Heylen (Tampa, Fla.)/Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah) Porsche 911 GT America, now being prepared by Dempsey Racing, finished tenth. Eighteen-year-old Snow, who will graduate from high school next week, and Heylen were only 12 points out of the driver points lead going into the event, but expect to slip back when the standings come out early next week.
Other Porsches that started the race well, but ran into on-track problems included the No. 81 Tully's Coffee/GB Motorsports entry which spun into the wall; the No. 30 NGT Momo car, which crashed hard early in the race; the No.44 Flex-Box Magnus racer, which was having race set-up problems all weekend and was penalized after losing its mirror against the wall; the No. 73 Park Place team, which crashed after suffering a flat tire; and the No. 27 Dempsey Racing car, which suffered a battery problem..
Ian James, No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It is really great to finish second and it is a true testament to this team. We were the last to leave the track last night as the guys were practicing pit stops. Our one pit stop was fantastic and put us in a position to compete for the lead. We are here to win and we are getting closer. Mario did a great job in the car. When Pumpelly (Spencer, No. 45 Audi) went wide to make a pass for the lead and got into the dirty part of the track, Mario was there to pounce. Great job by the whole team that Gabe Newell, Don Kitch Jr. and Alex Job have put together."
Mario Farnbacher, No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "It was a crazy race. We had a great pit stop. The Alex Job crew really helped us get to the front today. The caution period was long. Pumpelly is very quick and he is always challenging to race against. He got by me and then I kept pushing because the field was tight after the caution. With the different cars in GTD they are faster at different points on the track. I was able to get by Pumpelly when he made a slight mistake for second position. I tried to catch the Ferrari at the end for the win, but came up just a little short. Second position is a good finish for us today."
Cooper MacNeil, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "My stint didn't go quite as well as I'd planned. I was exiting Turn Six and just kissed the wall, it didn't even feel like I hit it. I took off the mirror. IMSA won't let you run without a mirror. The crew did a great job to get the door on and get me back out under the green flag. Leh did a great job to get us back up in the points. We actually made up some ground to our competition, so considering we had to make two pit stops it was not too bad of a day."
Leh Keen, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: "Copper had a good start. He was really pushing and just touched the wall which took the mirror off. That can happen at these street courses. It put us at the back of the field. The last two-thirds of the race was really wild out there today. I was getting hit, touching the walls and everyone was leaning on each other a little. To come back from where we were after the mirror deal to end up fifth is a good day. The WeatherTech Porsche is in one piece, but has a mark on all four corners. Not too bad of a day."
Bernhard Muehlner, owner, No. 18 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America: "It was a crazy race, but our drivers Sebastian Asch and Tomy Drissi did a great job, with Drissi leading the GTD class for almost an hour. Asch is an experienced driver in Europe, but new to a circuit like Detroit, while Drissi has raced dozens of time on the Detroit and Long Beach street circuits. As much as we missed the setup yesterday in qualifying, the car was great today, and we might have finished even high if we didn't get a penalty for passing under yellow - we're not even sure at this time when that happened as neither driver remembered being in that situation. With this finish, we hope to attract other drivers to join our team for races on the rest of the TUDOR schedule."
Sports Car Classic - Detroit Belle Island - selected GT Daytona Results (Porsches in bold)
1. No. 63 Allesandro Balzan (Italy)/Jeff Westphal (San Francisco), Ferrari 458 Italia - 56 laps
2. No. 23 Ian James (Phoenix)/Mario Farnbacher (Germany)/ Porsche 911 GT America - 56 laps
3. No 48 Bryce Miller (Summit, NJ)/Christopher Haase (Germany, Audi R8 LMS - 56 laps
4. No. 007 James Davison (Australia)/Al Carter (Greenville, Del.), Aston Martin V12 Vantage - 56 laps
5. No. 22 Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.)/Leh Keen (Atlanta), Porsche 911 GT America - 56 laps
6. No. 94 Dane Cameron (Atlanta, Ga.)/Markus Palttala (Finland), BMW Z4 - 56 laps
7. No. 18 Sebastian Asch (Germany)/Tomy Drissi (Hollywood, Calif.), Porsche 911 GT America - 56 laps
8. Townsend Bell (San Francsico)/Bill Sweedler (Wesport, Conn.), Ferrari 458 Italia - 56 laps
9. No. 58 Jan Heylen (Tampa, Fla.)/Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah), Porsche 911 GT America - 55 laps
10. No. 81 Damien Faulkner (Ireland)/Ben Barker (UK), Porsche 911 GT America - 55 laps
13. No. 44 John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah)/Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.), Porsche 911 GT America - 55 laps
17. No. 27 Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, Calif.)/Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga.), Porsche 911 GT America - 52 laps
18. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.)/Kevin Estre (France), Porsche 911 GT America - 26 laps
19. No. 30 Kuba Giermaziak (Poland)/Henrique Cisneros (Miami, Fla.), Porsche 911 GT America - 19 laps
Complete results at www.imsa.com
The next race of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule is June 28-29 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.
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